You’ve heard about the Pacific Gyre, right? The area three times the size of the state of Texas, that holds hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic debris that chokes turtles and kills birds that mistake it as food. And you’ve probably already heard that the Pacific Gyre is just one of the giant garbage patches. Each of our world’s seven oceans has a plastic gyre of similar proportion. This weekend, September 25th, the Ocean Conservancy is having their 25th annual International Coastal Clean-up. Check here for events in your area: http://www.oceanconservancy.org/
We did a similar clean-up associated with a State of Texas initiative this spring (you can check out our intern’s report on the event here http://www.recyclematch.com/blog-the-recyclematch-team-helps-to-clean-up-our-waterways-by-participating-in-the-2010-trash-bash). RecycleMatch encourages our team members and our customers to participate in events like this. Whether you are cleaning up the beach, a river, or a storm sewer in your area, what you’ll find will open your eyes to the opportunities we all have to fix this problem.
Here are the five not so obvious things we learned from manually picking up trash:
1. Most people in cities believe that there is a filtration system in the storm sewer that collects whatever trash blows down there. Not true.
2. When you see a public trash can that is overfilled with trash, putting more on top of it is akin to littering. That litter will blow away or wash away, ending up in storm sewers, streams and ultimately the ocean.
3. Everyone has experienced a gust of wind making off with some piece of trash at some point. But if you think about it, there are nearly 7 Billion people in the world. If we assume it has happened to each of us once, even if it’s just a candy wrapper, that’s a lot of trash.
4. Producer responsibility means that companies can design products and packaging with a better understanding of the common uses and misuses of their goods. We got rid of the old fashioned pull tabs on beer and soda cans because people cut themselves on the litter. Why can’t we take that thinking a step further?
5. It’s really easy to bend down and pick up trash when you see it on the street. Most of it is innocuous stuff like bottle caps and plastic bags. You can wash your hands and even bathe in sanitizer if it makes you feel better. But you should really feel better knowing that everyday can be your opportunity to clean up the oceans.
Whether you are a company or just one person – we can all work to achieve zero waste. After all, if you are not for zero waste, how much waste are you for?